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  • » 05/30/2014, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Yogyakarta, Islamic extremists attack a group of Catholics gathered in prayer

    Mathias Hariyadi


    The raid targeted faithful of the parish of the Holy Family of Banteng, praying the rosary and practicing hymns for Sunday. The host and owner of a small publishing house in the area brutally beaten. Archbishop of Semarang calls for thorough investigations. Sources told AsiaNews: "In the past fundamentalist groups attacked Ahmadis in the area".

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A group of Islamic extremists in the area of Besi have brutally and violently attacked faithful of the parish of the Holy Family of Banteng , in the area north of Yogyakarta (island of Java). Church sources in Semarang confirm the attack took place at 9 last night when Catholics held their weekly meeting to pray the Rosary and practice their Sunday hymns. Local witnesses report that, suddenly, a group of Islamic fundamentalists raided the private house owned by a local Catholic leader, throwing stones and rocks. The assailants brutally beat him and then fled in haste.

    At the time the owner, Julius Felicianus, was not at home; informed of events, he left friends and colleagues and returned home to assess the situation in person.

    However, as soon as he crossed the threshold of the house, the Islamic extremist group made a second and more violent attack: the Islamists stormed the apartment, assaulting Felicianus - Director of Galang Press, a small publishing house local - with stones and an iron bar. The group also hit him over the head with an earthenware vase causing a deep wound.  What is striking is the fact that they wanted to target him and other members inside the house as well as some journalists, who arrived on the scene.

    The reasons for the attack is unknown. It is also unclear whether they wished to target the publisher in particular, or the entire Catholic community. The incident has caused shock and fear among the faithful who fear new attacks.

    Interviewed by AsiaNews, the Archbishop of Semarang Msgr. Johannes Pujasumarta reports that the reasons behind the attack should be investigated quickly and clearly; he hopes for thorough investigations, not only by the police, but also "the local Catholic community " and the results will be handed over "to the authorities for further investigation". Sources engaged in interreligious dialogue recall that the area is known for the presence of various Islamic organizations, moderate and extremist; the latter have become protagonists in the past of violent attacks against the Muslim Ahmadi minority.

    Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Increasingly however, it has become the scene of attacks or episodes of intolerance against minorities, whether they are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or belong to other faiths. Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia (Islamic law) is enforced, following a peace agreement between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Yet, in many other areas of the country, a more radical and extreme vision of Islam is spreading among ordinary Indonesians.  Certain rules such as the infamous building permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan or IMB in Indonesian) have been used to prevent the construction of Christian places of worship or stop construction already underway, as was the case for the Yasmin Church in West Java. In December last year, at least five Christian places of worship have had to close their doors due to pressure from Islamists.

     

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    See also

    02/12/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
    North Sumatra: Hundreds of Islamists attack Protestant community during prayer service
    A group of FPI members stopped the Sunday services of the Hkbp in Binjai . Fundamentalists threaten Christians, who are forced to leave under police escort. Attack sparked by false accusations of promoting religious activities in a building without permission. A case pending for more than five years.

    07/07/2014 INDONESIA
    Christian leaders: religious freedom at risk if Subianto wins presidential elections
    Concerns over the political manifesto of the former general’s Gerindra Party, that would pave the way for state interference in religion. The government "obliged" to verify the application of religious freedom. Minorities at risk, particularly Ahmadis, Shias, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. Subianto also supported by radical Islamist wing.

    19/01/2017 16:07:00 INDONESIA
    Widodo tells Protestant leaders he supports religious freedom against extremism

    Indonesia’s president met the leaders of the Synod of Protestant Churches (PGI) to discuss the growing threats that endanger "tolerance, peace and unity". Widodo reassured them that the state is not "passive" towards radical groups as it was in the past.



    25/03/2014 INDONESIA
    West Java, Islamists block construction of a Catholic Church
    Fundamentalists target Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Cibubur, Bekasi regency. The local court points to danger of “sectarian violence", gives in to intimidation and stops the project. The priest presents all of the necessary permits and confirms: "The construction will continue, so far 70% of the structure built".

    21/02/2014 INDONESIA
    South Sumatra, hundreds of Islamists block the construction of a Protestant church
    An armed mob has occupied a plot of land owned by the Christian community Huria Kristen Batak Protestan. Raid motivated by lack of building permit. The leadership of the Hkbp lodges IMB application in 2011, to no avail . The Minister for Religious Affairs orders the termination of the project.



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